Cape Town – It
should be known on Wednesday whether national captain Faf du Plessis will be
able to take his place in the Proteas team for the once-off, floodlit Test
against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth from Boxing Day.
doubles as an experimental, ICC-approved four-day contest; that, and the
historic day/night aspect on these shores, ought to help to stimulate unusual
levels of interest against the neighbouring minnows.
Plessis has been out of action since late October, when he retired hurt with a
lower back injury a few runs short of a century in the East London one-day
international against Bangladesh.
understands that Cricket South Africa are planning a press conference on
Wednesday, expected to feature head coach Ottis Gibson and manager Dr Mohammed
Moosajee, where the availability – or otherwise -- of Du Plessis against
Zimbabwe should be revealed.
still seem loaded against Du Plessis making the cut, given that he has not been
included in the SA Invitation XI to play a three-day warm-up match against the
Zimbabweans at Paarl from Wednesday – several other Proteas in need of
extended-format “middle” time like AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Temba Bavuma and
Chris Morris are in that side.
cricket for him at all during the just-completed domestic Ram Slam T20
Challenge campaign, Du Plessis will thus be going in notably “cold” against
Zimbabwe if he is deemed ready.
visitors’ reasonably benign attack would also provide him with a vital
opportunity to get into some kind of nick for the first Test a few days later
against fellow-heavyweights India (Newlands, January 5).
doesn’t make the Zimbabwe date, the skipper could be struggling too to play in
CSA may well
be giving Du Plessis every opportunity to confirm his fitness for the St
George’s Park clash, as it is also understood that the SA squad for that Test
will only be announced as late as Friday.
That is also
the final day of the Paarl warm-up match, so the selectors ought to know much more
by then about whether someone like Steyn, who has not played any long-form
cricket since early November last year – when he broke down with his serious
shoulder injury in a Test against Australia at Perth – is able to be included
in the plans for the Friendly City.
Should Du Plessis
have to sit out in PE, vice-captain Dean Elgar is the logical replacement as
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